Whopper, one of the Bourbon Red Turkey poults I hatched last year.

Whopper, one of the Bourbon Red Turkey poults I hatched last year.

Setting your eggs

Setting is just a term used to mean you start incubating the eggs. When you’re ready, place your eggs in the incubator. If you have an automatic turner, put them in that. (My turner is external, so I simply put my eggs in the tray and fit the bar snugly to hold them in place.) The eggs are going to incubate in the same position they were stored in, pointy side down. If you don’t have a turner, you will have to lay them on their sides, and develop a system of turning them manually, three times a day. You need a system in place so you can tell each time which eggs have yet to be turned. Some people write X’s and O’s, one on each side.

After you put the eggs in the incubator, the temperature will go down for a bit. If you had it set properly to begin with, walk away and give it time to warm the eggs up. It will come back up but it can take several hours.

Now What?

Keep a calendar, or a piece of paper nearby to your incubator for keeping notes. I prefer a calendar myself, but there are many different ways, even inexpensive software available. On the calendar, write down the time you set your eggs on the correct day.  Put your finger on that day and slide it down 3 times, each time advancing one week. The date that you land on is the date that your hatch should be finished. Write that down. Now on the day before, write down: hatch should start. And two days before that write down: lockdown. All of these dates are very important for you to keep track of. Writing them down now will save a lot of headache.

Candling Eggs

At some point you will probably want to candle the eggs and see whats going on inside of there. This is trial and error, you won’t get it right all the time ever, and hardly ever at first. I promise to take some pictures as I go and I will create a new post regarding candling for you. There are certain things you should expect to see, and certain things such as blood rings that tell you to throw the egg out.


Lockdown is the final 3 days of incubation. At the start, take the eggs off the turners (or the turners out if that applies to your incubator). Fill the water reservoirs completely full. Keep the vents 1/2 open. All the eggs should be laying on their sides. Close up the incubator, and walk away for 3 days. Don’t open it for anything, until the hatch is completely over. (Note the term lockdown.)

Around day 19-20, you may start to see eggs moving around, or hear cheeping inside the eggs. So cool!! Right about the same time of day you set your eggs on day 20, you should begin to see or hear holes being punched in the eggs. I will update you with photos toward the end of next week with complete details about the hatching process, as well as definitions for the terms pipping and zipping. As always, if you have questions about anything, feel free to ask!